US, Saudi to continue security cooperation in Middle East

Washington: The US and Saudi Arabia will continue security cooperations in the Middle East “in particular to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities”, the White House said late Friday.

“The two parties affirmed the need to continue efforts to maintain security, prosperity and stability in the region and in particular to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities,” said a joint statement on the meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman bin Abd al Aziz of Saudi Arabia.

“In this regard, King Salman expressed his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 countries, which once fully implemented will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and thereby enhance security in the region,” the statement said, Xinhua reported.

“We’ll discuss the importance of effectively implementing the deal to ensure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, while counteracting its destabilizing activities in the region,” Obama said before the meeting.

Calling Obama a friend, King Salman said: “Our relationship is beneficial not only to our two countries, but to the entire world and to our region. And this is significant, and we must always affirm that and deepen such relations.”

“Our region must achieve stability”, said the 79-year-old King who is paying the first official visit to the US since he ascended to the throne following the death of ailing King Abdullah in January.

The US media said King Salman’s visit took place as Saudi Arabia seeks assurances from the US that the Iran nuclear deal comes with an effort to check Iran’s regional ambitions.

According to the joint statement, the two countries also agreed on continue military cooperation in confronting ISIL and “heightened cooperation on counter-terrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity, and ballistic missile defence.”